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Birth rate in England and Wales at record low

The official birth rate in England and Wales reached a record low in 2018, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In total, 657,076 babies were born in England and Wales in 2018. This drop continues the downward trend, making it the third year in a row in which the number of live births has come down and the lowest since official records began in 1938.

The numbers of live births in England and Wales for 2018 is down by 3.2% on 2017 and nearly 10% on 2012. The birth rate decreased to 11.1 live births per 1,000 population in 2018, from a high of 20.5 in 1947, the report shows.

The average number of children born to each woman (otherwise known as the total fertility rate) is also down to 1.7 – from 1.76 in 2017, with fertility rates decreasing across all age groups except women aged 40 and over.

Total fertility rate is now at its lowest since the 1999 to 2002 period, potentially affected by changes in the timing of people starting families, as well as the size of their families and overall population structure.

The Office for National Stastics says the overall trend could be driven by falling fertility rates and an ageing population.

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